2016 Staffing
Investigators 13
Support Staff13
Law Clerks/Students2

Economic crimes often have dire consequences, from destroying family equity in a property to rendering corporate stocks worthless to shareholders. These crimes may be committed by individuals against institutions or other individuals. The Economic Crimes Division is responsible for prosecuting a wide variety of wrongdoing, including computer intrusion, identity theft, investment scams, embezzlements, real estate matters, counterfeit goods, environmental crimes and the theft of public assistance funds. The division also acts to protect consumers and businesses by successfully filing numerous civil cases to prohibit unfair business practices within the marketplace. The division was led by Chief Stephen Robinson and Assistant Chief Damon Mosler in 2016.

Cases of note included:

People v. Giuliana Bosco
The defendant in this case impersonated a lawyer and stole funds by falsely representing she was working to assist the victim in a child custody matter. A jury convicted the defendant of 23 felonies, including grand theft, false personation, forgery and identity theft. She was sentenced to 13 years and eight months in prison.

People v. Wells Fargo
This civil case was filed under California’s unfair competition laws, asserting that Wells Fargo Bank violated California privacy laws by failing to timely and adequately disclose its automatic recording of phone calls with members of the public. As part of the settlement Wells Fargo must comply with California’s standards for recording confidential communications between the bank and its customers, and was required to pay penalties and costs totaling $8 million and contribute $500,000 to two statewide organizations dedicated to advancing consumer protection and privacy rights.

People v. Black
The defendant solicited victims in two investment schemes. In one, he promised a guaranteed 12 percent return on capital and in the other he told the victims he was raising money for an imminent initial public offering, yet failed to advise these victims of his previous bankruptcy, loss of his broker’s license and other material information. Black ultimately pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years and four months in state prison.

Preventing the Sale of “Spice”
Using California’s unfair business practices statutes, the Economic Crimes Division has pursued eight separate retailers in an effort to prevent the illegal sale of Spice. Spice is a form of synthetic marijuana which typically consists of dried plant material that is sprayed with synthetic chemical compounds. When Spice is ingested or smoked, it produces psychoactive effects which mimic those of cannabis. Using Spice has caused serious injuries and, in some cases, death. To date, five retailers have been enjoined permanently from selling Spice and have collectively paid civil penalties and costs totaling $154,850. The remaining three cases are in active litigation.